Head of Medical Paul Gambles talks to www.themillers.co.uk...
The Medical Room - Mental Health Day
As I write, today is World Mental Health day and I expect today that there will be plenty of items within newspapers and television focusing on how we can improve our mental health and that of others.
Some years ago, when the first footballers openly spoke out having problems with their mental health, people were amazed and some questioned openly ‘how can someone who plays football and earn so much have any problems to worry about?’
Thankfully since then people’s perceptions have changed and it’s now accepted that mental health problems and depression is a condition suffered by people in every walk of life.
Footballers, just like anyone else go through various life changing and stressful events - births, marriages, separations, bereavements - none of us are exempt from these life events or the stresses that come with them, it just depends how we deal with them.
Football is very much still a masculine domain, with the inherent problems that brings – eg men very rarely open up about their feelings or what causes those problems, they generally try and carry on until they reach a point where they just can’t function anymore. The stresses they have then spill over into every aspect of their life, home, family, relationships, behaviour and work.
It has become well documented this year through various means just how good the gaffer is with players and how he spends time getting to know each and every one of his players, and staff,on a personal level.
That’s why we all, at the start of the season gave a little presentation on the people who inspire us and who we look up to. It’s what makes us tick, what we care about, what our values are and why we get up and out of bed in a morning. Most showed members of their families, girlfriends, wives and kids, others, people that were important to them in their youth and showed them ‘a path’ a way to live. It was emotional, people shared things that they have probably never spoken about before and openly showed emotion in front of the group, laughter and tears, not as a sign of weakness but what matters to them as individuals. Out of it came strength - strength as a group, a bond - between individuals, trust - that you could tell your team-mates anything and they would look up to you and respect you for it and a knowledge of what drives each of us and where we want to go.
For us as a group we take great pride in the knowledge that we can talk to each other, share problems and help each other find resolutions, but we also build into that a network of people and professionals who can provide help on another level should it be required. The club Chaplain - Baz Gascoyne, Club Doctor - Uday Idukallu and Player's Mentor - Mark Davies, a man of great life experience, all who work behind the scenes for the good of the players, but are unlikely to be seen by supporters or their work acknowledged to any great extent as their work is to listen rather than tell the world what they do.